Bota Mochi / Ohagi
ぼたもち, 牡丹餅 / おはぎ
Peony Rice Cake or a sweet rice dumpling
When a Higan (an equinox) comes, people get some Bota Mochi or Ohagi. More than a half-century ago, they used to home-make the sweet as an offering to their deceased family members. Nowadays, they just buy, but good Buddhists would do offering first to their ancestors and then, to their stomachs. Why the trouble? Simply because the Higan season is perfect for starting Buddhist practice, and showing respect to our ancestors is the first step to do that. And we do this twice a year (on vernal and autumnal equinoxes). Difference between Bota Mochi and Ohagi? They are technically the same thing, and just the name is different. In spring we call Bota Mochi after Botan flower (peony), and in autumn, it’s Ohagi, after the flower of Hagi: the Japanese bush clover.
(Photo: Bota Mochis wrapped with An and Kinako.)